Thursday, March 29, 2007

Meet the Polgárs

Some people are born geniuses. Or so we would like to believe. Not just in terms of intellect, but in every field of human endeavor, we find a few extraordinarily talented people who seem to have been born with that special gift.

László Polgár would not agree. He knows that experts are made more than born. László, a chess teacher, home schooled his three daughters - Zsuzsa, Zsófia, and Judit. Zsófia went on to be an international master. Zsuzsa and Judit went on to become grandmasters.

What we learn form the Polgár experiment and numerous other studies is that motivation plays a key role in learning. And the key to motivation is what is called ‘Effortful Study’, a process of continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond ones competence. This, it turns out, is the secret to genius.

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